Like so many dictators, Hugo Chavez left behind a legacy. His legacy is not a good one, contrary to what the Michaeal Moore’s. Oliver Stone’s and the Sean Penn’s of this world would tell you. In fact, even left of center sites are criticizing Chavez, and recommending that Democrats avoid praising Chavez. First up here are some observations from Think Regress.
While even Chavez’s critics admit that he did attempt to address the plight of Venezuela’s poorest, the decline in economic inequality in Venezuela reflected a broader egalitarian trend in Latin America, and can’t be fully credited to Chavez’s policies. However, Chavez’ policies harmed Venezuela’s poorest in other ways: the value of the Venezuelan currency dropped while prices soared, making it harder for people to buy basic necessities, and crime skyrocketed.
Moreover, Chavez hurt the vulnerable in Venezuela in other ways. Chavez’s state-run media hounded Venezuela’s small, beleaguered Jewish population — he himself once said “Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews.” A study released by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University found that Chavez’s rule “witnessed a rise in antisemitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.” Indeed, roughly half of Venezuelan Jews fled the country because of “the social and economic chaos that the president has unleashed and from the uncomfortable feeling that they were being specifically targeted by the regime.”
Chavez also attacked Venezuela’s democratic political system. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that “the accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and civil society.” Contra Serrano’s implication that Chavez’s elections were generally certified as “free and fair by international monitors,” Chavez had not invited international election monitors to observe Venezuelan elections since 2006 (though a delegation from the Carter Center did conduct a limited audit of the 2012 election).
So, Think Regress got it right.
History will not be kind to him. His petro-socialism was never a self-sustaining economic or social development model. Venezuela under Chavez’s reign has deteriorated to the point where it must import milk. Chavez’s Venezuela can no longer feed itself.
Hugo Chavez lied to the people, convincing many that his magical powers would save them from misery. There was no magic solution to resolve Venezuela’s myriad social problems.
Even as he jetted across the globe with allies like Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chavez tolerated waves of urban violence — turning Caracas into one of the most violent cities in the world.
Hugo Chavez, the champion of Venezuela’s millions of poor was worth over $1 billion at the time of his death having plundered his country’s enormous oil wealth according to a respected analyst.
A report from risk assessment and global analysis firm Criminal Justice International Associates (CJIA) alleges that the Chavez family and hundreds of other associates have stolen one-tenth of the $1 trillion raked in by Venezuela since 1999 in oil sales.
The head of the CJIA, Jerry Brewer has said that since Chavez rose to power in 1999, his family have joined in league with criminal organizations to appropriate $100 billion up until his death on on March 5th 2013.